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exit6
11-11-2004, 08:08 AM
I do a lot of "info graphics," and once again the client has asked for the inevitable animated arrows. As usual, they want the arrows to follow a curved path in 3 space. I have to reinvent the wheel every time I do this. Is there a way to make an arrow, subdivided, and have it follow a spline curve, and to bend along the curve? I know it's a boring question, but I would like to find the right method for this once and for all.
Thanks --

exit6
11-11-2004, 11:51 AM
I guess the method is Curve Conform, but I'm having trouble getting it to work. Is it buggy. or are there any guidlines not in the help?

Silkrooster
11-11-2004, 08:44 PM
Well I kinda can get it to work. Its the combination of curve constraint in the motion options and the curve conform in the object properties. This allows the arrow to follow a spline and the arrow does bend some. I may not have enough sections to the arrow.
Silk

exit6
11-12-2004, 02:51 AM
I can't get it to go that way, which I thought would work too. I guess I'm stuck with the bones/morph method, which is a big pain and never really looks good. Maybe there's a plugin somewhere, or something. I can see a lot of applications for actually cool animations, like a weasel in a pipe or something. What could be cooler than that?

Dodgy
11-12-2004, 03:30 AM
There's a very quick version of serpent called 'Trailer'. Look for it on www.flay.com

BeeVee
11-12-2004, 05:40 AM
LightWolf created a great arrow using Inertia and weightmaps. I'll post a scene that I made following his example here:

B

Lightwolf
11-12-2004, 05:59 AM
Well, I was just about to jump in, but Ben beat me to it :)

Cheers,
Mike

wizlon
11-12-2004, 06:21 AM
I do arrows here at work all the time and have tried pretty much everyway, the most effective and easiest way IMO is two uv texture a strip of polys, keep the geometry simple ie. a band of quads (sub-patch) and map the movie of the arrow moving across. for complex shapes use uvspider or uvbandmapper plug-in.

exit6
11-12-2004, 11:07 AM
I knew one day that not knowing how to use weight or uv maps would come to get me! I stopped doing 3D from v 5.5 to version 7.5, so I missed a bunch of cool features. Any good tutorials you can recommend?

exit6
11-12-2004, 12:28 PM
by the way, that's a pretty sick image, wizion. I can't decide if it's some kind of high-tech jet aircraft or an electric razor, but it's cool.

BeeVee
11-12-2004, 01:24 PM
Neither (I know what it is! :) Have another guess? :)

B

MooseDog
11-12-2004, 01:54 PM
thx to beeve and lightwolf fo sharing that file. very helpful!

i guess that image is either an air purifier or a double espresso maker :D

mrunion
11-12-2004, 02:32 PM
Dyson? Maybe?

BeeVee
11-12-2004, 03:48 PM
Hehe, give that man an onion? Well a prize of some sort anyway! :)

B

Silkrooster
11-12-2004, 07:11 PM
Lightwolf,
Could you explain the process a little. I am curious how this works. Is it the inertia plug in that makes the arrow follow the tcb line. Making it bend. Also How did you decide on the number of keyframes. Is the weight map required for inertia to work?
Silk

Silkrooster
11-12-2004, 07:44 PM
Here is an arrow following a spline. It uses curve constraint and serpent. I find that this is very cpu intensive.
Silk
Edit: This attachment is old, look at new post below. I am leaving this attachment here for now for anyone who want to see how I came to the conclusion I did.

Silkrooster
11-12-2004, 09:18 PM
I was playing with the above file some more. The curve constraint moves the object on the spline by points, therefore the more points the smoother the animation. However I am finding that the serpent plugin will bring layout to a stand still. So if you wish to use the above file and have enough points to look good, you had better have a high powered cpu. I am using a 1.5 Ghz Pent 4 and it just is not enough.
Silk

Silkrooster
11-12-2004, 09:28 PM
OK, I got it to work. I ended up using a flat object, so the resolution of the object has a lot to do with it. Anyways here is a flat arrow going in a circle using a spline.
Silk

BeeVee
11-13-2004, 03:37 AM
The weightmap is on the arrow to stretch it out... You need to examine the object and the scene (particularly the arrow's properties) carefully.

B

wizlon
11-15-2004, 08:50 AM
here's how i'am doing it right now, it works really well and renders very quick (always a bonus), i've tried all sorts of methods, serpent, curve constraints etc.. but they all gave me problems, like arrows distorting flipping and twisting.

anyway here's a scene file for you to look at if your interested.

wizlon
11-15-2004, 08:51 AM
try that again!